Instagram seems to be the social media platform of choice for creative business owners.
It’s visual, business accounts easily blend in with personal accounts, and - unlike Facebook - posts show up in chronological order.
Well, they used to show up in chronological order.
On March 15th, Instagram announced that posts would “soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.”
In other words, they’re following Facebook’s footsteps and displaying posts in your feed according to engagement. Posts will no longer appear in chronological order. Business owners aren’t guaranteed that their posts will appear in the feeds of their followers.
So it’s no surprise that this recent announcement has caused widespread panic in the creative community.
However, I saw this one coming. I predicted it would happen several months ago in this post.
While these recent changes might change the way we approach our Instagram marketing strategies, they shouldn’t be causing business owners to freak out.
Here’s why they don’t scare me (and certainly shouldn’t scare you).
The problem with Instagram
When it comes to social media - especially Instagram - many creatives tend to put all their eggs in one basket. They put a majority of their time and effort into this one platform.
And when that happens, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the number of likes, comments, and followers and forget the primary reason for using Instagram as a creative entrepreneur: to organically market your products and services. More than any other social media platform, Instagram has a tendency to turn into a popularity contest rather than a marketing tool.
But results are more important than likes. Site traffic is more important than comments. And sales are more important than followers. (At least if profitability is of a concern for your business.)
You’re setting yourself up for disaster if you put all of your efforts into one social media platform because Instagram isn’t the final destination; your website should be the final destination.
Instagram, like any other social media platform, should be a funnel. It should be used to point people back to your website where all of the sales take place. Your approach to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. should be to increase engagement with your followers and point them back to the place where they can buy.
And that’s why you shouldn’t be alarmed. If you’re looking at Instagram as a funnel and you’re more concerned with results, you have nothing to worry about.
Because Instagram isn’t the only way to connect with your audience.
In fact, there’s a better, more effective way to connect with your audience and drive traffic to your website (and it will increase your Instagram following in the meantime).
What to focus on instead
Now I know some of you might be thinking, “What in the world does blogging have to do with Instagram’s logarithm changes?” But hear me out.
I’m not telling you to give up Instagram altogether. I’m asking you to consider rearranging your priorities when it comes to marketing your business.
Blogging, unlike Instagram, brings people directly into your website. When people land on your site to read your blog, your shop and service pages are only a click away.
Blogging also gives people a reason to return to your site on a regular basis. If you’re consistently publishing blog posts and the content is beneficial to your readers, you’ll keep them coming back to your home base. They’ll not only become more familiar with your business but again, your products and services will only be one click away.
And while your Instagram posts are difficult for others to share, blog posts can easily be shared on every social media platform. They can also be found in search engines.
But one of the biggest advantages? While social media sites make you play by their rules, you have complete control over your blog.
You’re at the mercy of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook when you put most of your effort into social media. But no one can take your website away from you or prevent access.
Not to mention that the more your blog following grows, the more your social media accounts will grow. When people find your site and enjoy your content, they’ll want to follow along with you on social media.
Some of you might be thinking that you don’t have the time to blog. But I would argue that some of you are already writing mini blog posts in your Instagram captions already.
And with the amount of time that many people spend posting to Instagram, responding to comments, and following along with others, you could be writing a blog post and writing content that could be enjoyed, shared, and acted upon by your audience.
My challenge to you
But regardless of whether you blog or not, here’s my challenge to you: Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
If Instagram shut down tomorrow, would you still have a business? What about Twitter? Facebook? Pinterest?
While social media is fantastic for increasing and engaging your audience, it shouldn’t be the end goal. Because, like Instagram, any platform can easily change their logarithms and operations. Don’t put the success of your business in their hands.
Instead, focus on the platforms you have control over. Put more of an emphasis on your website and use social media as a funnel.
And if you do that, Instagram’s new changes won’t scare you.
What are your thoughts on Instagram's new changes? What is your social media marketing strategy?